Underground Railroad Orgnization

Web photoI was asked, “How did these Kansas UGRR conductors and station masters know each other.” First, the 1855-57 Kansas population was small. Second and most importantly, the early abolitionist settlers banded together forming militias to defend against Missourians trying to make Kansas a slave state. The single most galvanizing incident was the 1856 burning of Lawrence by Missourians led by Sheriff Samuel Jones and former Missouri Senator, David Rice Atchison. Missouri had free states on the east and north making slave escapes easy. Missourians did not want the entire western border contiguous with  a free state. We only need to remember Huck Finn and  Tom trying to get to Cairo, Illinois. Missourians soon saw the unintended consequences of  trying to influence Kansas politics was to energize Kansans into continuing to fight slavery. These Kansans formed a sophisticated escape network from Mound City to Iowa.  The Topeka Boys Militia I mentioned in my last post is a good example.

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